marko’s burgundy vendange day five…

Update 16.9.2018(17.9.2018)Marko de Morey et de la Vosne

Arlaud Vendange Day 5 Friday 7th September
Aligote x 2, Morey Villages (vers Roncevie), Vosne P-M, Morey Clos Solon, Morey Aux Cheseaux:

Friday turned out to be another very warm day but in terroir & picking terms a very varied one. We ‘kicked off’ with two separate parcels of Aligote in the area just south of the village’s main road traffic light junction and ‘below’ the road. The Aligote is looking really good this year (2016 was a disaster). I like picking Aligote and white grapes generally but one has to be thorough in leaf stripping or its all too easy to miss a bunch. One can almost guarantee if you don’t strip a leaf, or look behind it, then some grapes will be hiding. One of the two parcels was a little unusual in that Arlaud ‘only’ seemed to have a part of each of the very long rows, with the white paint splodge on a post coming also part way along the row to signify where to stop. I must have picked in these rows before but can’t recall ever noticing this. The Aligote took us to c9.30 when we re-embarked in the vans for a relatively short hop north of the village, still below & next to the main road, in a location similar to, but not as far as, Roncevie. This was Pinot classed as Morey Village which just shows how ‘daft’ are the inter-village politics which causes Arlaud’s Roncevie to be a Bourgogne as the upper part of Roncevie and the Morey Village we were about to tackle aren’t ‘that’ far apart and similar. I guess though not all of Arlaud’s Roncevie could be classed as ‘village’ i.e those sections further away from the road. Anyway, the slog that is Roncevie’s 5ha was still to come, meantime today’s section of the Morey took us up to lunch. I didn’t take any photos here which belatedly can only attribute to the fruit being unremarkable i.e good, but could also have been down to picking speed.

Lunch was another good one with some sort of pale minced up meat wrapped ‘en croute’ in pastry (almost like a sausage roll or similar) accompanied by pasta with a crunchy cheesy topping and sauce. My early refectoire dining room seat was opposite Maxime, whom I took to be from one of France’s former African colonies although I never asked him where he (or maybe family) came from. He told me he was from Chenove when I asked if he lived in Dijon (as many of the team do). Maxime takes his lunches very seriously which is endearing to watch. Maybe too seriously on occasion as he often seemed to have the non meat element of his meals (e.g potatoes, pasta etc) piled high on his plate but left a goodly portion. More unusually he declined wine (and I never saw him with a beer either) & seemed to drink only water. Right from his first greeting of me, & me him, when he learnt I was English (or British) he was obsessed with the UK’s Brexit (I’ve no idea why – language abilities on both sides prevented political exploration) and thereafter he always greeted me, without fail, in his heavy accent as ‘Mr Brexit Man’ – which became and was amusing to us all.

Post lunch then a moment I’d been eagerly anticipating ever since we ‘did’ Echezeaux & CSD. When the usual call to vehicles came I went, as usual, to hop onto the front bench seat of one of the two ageing, white, battered Mercedes Sprinter vans (perhaps the most unusual looking rental vans one might come across !) with my outside perch alongside J-P Feral & with Herve on the driver’s side. However, Climent grabbed my arm & directed me to the black, almost new looking, VW Caravelle mini bus which he drove throughout. The reason for my vehicle direction was quickly obvious – a number of us were off to Vosne for tackling premier cru, Petit-Monts. This is just a fantastic location, high up above Vosne with a superb vista looking down on Vosne, and with Nuits St-Georges to the north. Lamarche’s team were ‘hard at it’ in La Grande Rue as we climbed. The road narrows and takes a very sharp right a little before we go no further, other than on foot. A short walk from the vehicles takes us to the vines but the Arlaud (negoce) parcel requires a left turn upwards, then a right along the hill slope to come to ‘our’ section. Unusually, this parcel of vines as I’ve recorded in past years (but do so again for new readers) is planted longitudinally across the slope whereas the earlier vines we walk past in different ownership are conventionally planted ‘vertically’ i.e up/down the slope. Its quite steep hence picking grapes from vines so planted, with minimal room between rows, can be trickier than might be imagined in terms of one’s stance and making sure one’s bucket doesn’t go somewhere down slope it shouldn’t ! Arlaud have had/worked these P-M vines from 2013 inclusive and the benefits of Arlaud’s husbandry has become clear to see over the years. A very good advertisement for biodynamism. We’d just started picking when I became aware there was a human figure some way ahead of me in my row. For a split second I assumed this must be a picker for another domaine on adjacent rows but quickly realised as the figure approached I was looking at a young lady, smartly dressed in leisure clothing (included a Blancpain Series top) and carrying a camera with one of those huge grey lenses which made my slung Canon G16 look puny ! It turned out this presumably professional photographer had been commissioned by Cyprien to take vendange photos for the Arlaud website. We’d see more of this girl on Sunday to come but for now she moved amongst, sometimes, very close, ‘snapping’ us in action. I generally do not like having my photo taken at all, with my long joking the ‘first rule of vendange is Mark takes photos, Mark does not appear on photos’ so I’m rather hoping I will not be making any website appearance in due course. My Canon was however approved of by this professional as ‘a good camera’.

Our number quickly & efficiently dealt with Petit-Monts. Our walk back to the vehicles initially brought us to a small white pickup piled high with thin cases. Standing on the down position tailgate were two youngish muscular individuals who’s polo shirts identified them as staff of Domaine des Comte(s ?) Liger-Belair. I could have fancied one of those polo shirts or an Arlaud equivalent but Cyprien’s moving with the times haven’t yet extended to any ‘uniform’ for his domaine staff, let alone our motley vendangeur crew !

Back in the vans we dropped down into Vosne. I tried a couple of photos of La Grande Rue from the moving/bouncing mini bus window and when I came to download was gratified to see at least one photo had ‘worked’.

From Vosne our return to Morey saw us re-join the rest of the team who’d not been Vosne bound. They were in Morey Clos Solon where we helped them quickly finish their rows before we all moved on as one to Morey 1er Aux Cheseaux, the final of our premier crus (as often seems the case). By now it was blisteringly hot with water intake essential and much needed (by me particularly) hence we had a break before commencing. I never asked directly but assumed the hot, & occasionally, humid weather was behind another new for this year development which could see Herve or Climent (occasionally one of the porteurs) move amongst us in the rows whilst we worked, morning and afternoon, dispensing welcome drinks from those plastic barrel type things bulk wine might come in or similar. We also seemed to be finishing regularly at c17.00 hours, an hour earlier than I’d been used to in past years (but I wasn’t complaining ! I put this down to the energy sapping heat.

We only part completed Aux Cheseaux before the day’s closure – we’d return to finish the next morning. I’ve noticed I’ve captioned a couple of late afternoon taken photos from here, seemingly without thinking/automatically, as Aligote. Now, thinking about it, I did have a couple of vines at least which, whilst they should of course have been Pinot Noir, bore ‘white’ grapes. These may not necessarily have been Aligote but could be something else – if someone can identify (assuming Bill includes said photos) then please be my guest !

And so wearily back to base, bucket cleaning and a beer, then one’s own gear & self cleaning.
Marko de Morey completed 15/9/2018

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 5 responses to “marko’s burgundy vendange day five…”

  1. Mike de Lange17th September 2018 at 11:27 amPermalinkReply

    Dear Mark,

    Again your narrative takes me back to the fields and many characters I’ve met there and at their various domaines… like the Comte de Liger-Belair. Quite a character he is and those who speak ill of him just don’t know him very well.
    Regarding the Arlaud Roncévie -a splendid Bourgogne I have been buying by the case every year since 2010- I seem to understand you think it’s from Morey, when I was under the impression it is located in Gevrey. I looked it up on my most detailed maps and they do show a village and a Bourgogne vineyard with that name just across the RN from the lower part of Charmes GC. Could you perhaps point me to its location in Morey? It would appear I have been lying to my students for the past decade…

  2. goughie1318th September 2018 at 10:38 amPermalinkReply

    Mike, you had me ‘going’ confused there, prompting me to re-read my words but I’m happy with what I said. I’ve never said (pls re-read icon) Roncevie is in Morey – it isn’t – as we both well know. I’ve been buying it for years also. I totally agree its in Gevrey & would never say different – for heaven’s sake I’ve been in it, all Arlaud’s 5ha of it, for 9 years !!! When we are picking Roncevie we are looking up roughly at Chambertin in the distance but, without consulting my own maps here, it may also be below Charmes/Mazoyeres. I’m not getting into semantics though. I’m not writing my pieces for everyone and his dog to start taking issues with geography or whatever, but simply for interest of others, fun etc.

    For clarity what I was referring to in my diary piece above was:- a) picking a parcel of Morey Village just below the main road in similar sort of location to, but not as far along going north, as Roncevie and just musing on locations; and, b) making the point that (and this has been well documented by different authors/wine merchants over the years) that Roncevie, as in Gevrey, and as might be bottled by a Gevrey vigneron, can be Gevrey Roncevie village BUT Arlaud are Morey vignerons and presumably due to inter village politics, history etc they have to label their Roncevie as Bourgogne Roncevie – which makes it a bargain, No ?

    Hope that’s clear ? I’m always happy to admit if I’m wrong but I wasn’t here.

    I returned to the UK Sunday night, and home last evening, and, as promised, will come back to changes chez Arlaud for you in due course, as well as continuing to write up my daily diaries to days 11 & 12, but for now domestic issues have my attention e.g the 3rd ‘run’ of the washing machine with my dirty gear 😉

  3. Mike de Lange19th September 2018 at 7:59 amPermalinkReply

    Dear Mark,

    I thought I had replied yesterday, but apparently not?!??! I can’t recall writing anything controversial, but if so I would appreciate some sort of explanation on why it was eighty-sixed. I will try to recapture my earlier reply below.

    I guess I misinterpreted your indications about locations of vineyards in conjunction with the inter-village labelling laws. I’m glad it’s cleared up now, because I was really scratching my head there. Considering the fact that you’ve been standing in the vineyard every year, I had little doubt you knew its location exactly.
    I wasn’t aware about this curious old law which forebids non-Gevrey vignerons from labelling wine from Roncévie as Gevrey village, but it sounds like a European Court case waiting to happen. Absurd!

    Anyway,I’ll await the next installments with anticipation.



  4. goughie1319th September 2018 at 8:35 amPermalinkReply

    Mike, you’ve ‘got’ me again 🙂 i.e I haven’t a clue on what “eighty sixed” refers to/means but no matter ! I’m not at all sure if ‘laws’ is the correct terminology, you may well be right (I just don’t know) but to maybe ‘bury’ any Roncevie issue for now I would just mention one further aspect perhaps pertinent, specifically to Arlaud and their large Roncevie holding. I meant to mention this yesterday but forgot.

    This further aspect is thus:- we both know from maps, experience etc etc of the size of Arlaud’s Roncevie and the area it covers. What I’m thinking here is, if we look at west to east, it starts along the edge of the Route Nationale but goes away from the road (approx. east) quite some distance (whilst not square) and at its furthest point east eventually ‘ends’ against a wooded area (the trees can be seen in my photos). I have no doubt in my mind the ‘upper portion’ i.e adjacent/parallel to the road is ‘worthy’ of village status but our ‘conversation’ has prompted me to think is the lower section worthy of village status or should/can only be Bourgogne Rouge ? If the latter is correct then, using all the grapes for the single wine would mean that, regardless of old laws or whatever, then the wine could only be labelled/carry the status of Bourgogne Rouge. If Arlaud were ‘allowed’ to label the best part(s) of Roncevie as a Gevrey Village (although as already discussed my understanding inter-village wise they cannot) then they would have to make two wines, a Gevrey Village and a Bourgogne Rouge but seemingly this will never happen whilst matters are as they are.

    An interesting one maybe and shades of a loosely similar debate which occurred during the vendange between a few of us one evening which was, as Arlaud have two separate parcels of Gevrey Village, quite well apart, one of which is La Justice, then why not make two different cuvees ? I cant remember which of us started the conversation but I do recall suggesting maybe, in the UK at least, Gevrey La Justice might carry a superior cachet to ‘just’ Gevrey Village. One of our number decided to tackle Cyprien on whether he’d considered separating the two Gevreys but the answer came back from one of the permanent cuverie guys and was a simple one i.e that Arlaud have ‘enough’ different wines/cuvees such that there is no appetite currently on this to change and create additional logistical issues. Understandable I guess & with the advent of the negoce wines from 2013 complication cuverie matters considerably.

    I’m back on the Cote in November hence if the opportunity presents I’ll seek to clarify the Roncevie issues definitively & report back. I’ve no intention of emailing Cyprien now as I know how busy the whole team is currently [and getting an email reply can be ‘challenging’ at the best of times 😉 ] .


  5. Mike de Lange19th September 2018 at 1:51 pmPermalinkReply

    Thanks for the explanation. I was aware of the fact that Roncévie has a village part and a part which is only entitled to regional appellations. It is labelled as such on one of my maps. As for the logistical intricacies of the domaine, let’s not question it too much and give them ideas! They make one of the best Bourgogne Pinot Noirs on the côte in my view -better than many a Gevrey village- and it is still somewhat affordable at least. Try getting a bottle from Mugneret-Gibourg for even sub-ridiculous prices these days!

    As for the etymology of the verb “to 86”, it stems from NY diners where -when a certain special would be sold out- the chef would come out of the kitchen and yell at the waitresses the name of that dish followed by “86”. It started to get adopted by their clients (I guess) and it got to mean that a person or object is cancelled, deleted or generally done away with.

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